Thursday, September 23, 2004

I will no longer complain about my schedule. This is not because it has gotten any better, or because I’m embracing positivity, or even for your benefit, dear reader. No, none of that. I won’t be complaining about my schedule any longer because I have learned of one that is infinitely worse, so much so that it renders petty my own woes and mute my bitching and moaning.

There’s a new guy in my department at Shitty, a kid really. He’s a first year Teaching Fellow from Connecticut. Fresh faced, eager, and oh so naïve, Mr. M, is downright adorable in his enthusiasm. He’s been peppering me with questions for weeks.

“How do I go about implementing a unit plan?”

“What sort of mathematical formula do you use for determining final grades, and what weight do you give to homeworks? Do you weigh all the homeworks equally, or is there some sort of scale?”

I tried to help the guy out, giving what advice I could, and trying not to just snicker and say, “Dude, as long as nobody cuts or fucks anybody in your classroom the first couple of months, you’ll be doing just fine. Worry about unit plans once you can keep them in their seats with their clothes on for five minutes at a time.”

I didn’t say anything like that though. I hemmed and hawed about utilizing different intelligences and remaining flexible and establishing routines and all kinds of other crap that made it sound as if I actually know what the hell I’m doing in a classroom.

Let him float on in blissful illusion, I thought. No sense in bursting his bubble now. Maybe he’s a natural. Maybe he’ll actually enjoy this shit.

Well, Mr. M got screwed. He’s spent this entire week with wildly overcrowded classes. Mind you, more than thirty-five kids in a room is illegal, twenty-four if they’re ESL (that’s never enforced though, because there’s no money tied up with it). Mr. M has sixty kids in his class. Sixty. No bullshit. For three periods a day. Someone in administration was kind enough to allow him to conduct his lessons in the grand Shitty auditorium, but no-one has fixed anything. In fact he got ten more students today. That’s seventy, putting him at exactly double the legal limit.

This sucks for Mr. M, a rookie who is having a hard enough time with his two other, regular sized classes of thirty-two kids, and it’s certainly not fair to the children, who clearly don’t stand a chance of learning a damned thing. Not that they mind, I’m sure they’re having a grand time hanging out in the auditorium, yelling and screaming and smacking each other upside the head.

Mr M hasn’t given up though, plugging on with missionary zeal, scribbling notes on a notepad and hollering to the crowd of children about parts of the body and the alphabet and whatever else he feels these struggling English language learners need to know.

I suggested he put on a talent show, or stage some sort of protest where he and his unruly bunch march down to the Principal’s office and just hang out until the press arrives or someone breaks something.

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